For digitally distracted families, it’s time to unplug and reconnect with each other on Jekyll Island
For families desperate to escape digital overload, Georgia’s Jekyll Island is just the place to unplug, relax, explore, and reconnect with each other.
In a society where everyone in the family is attached to their digital devices – but not to each other – the hope of spending quality time together is fading fast. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, unfettered use of electronic media by children can rob them of all-important sleep, exercise, outdoor play, and family time. Meanwhile, other research shows that an overwhelming majority of U.S. adults are habitually engrossed in their own digital equipment, which is affecting family routines and building stress around the home. Making matters worse, a study by the American Psychological Association reveals that nearly half the parents surveyed said they feel disconnected from their families – even when they are together – because of technology.
The good news is, more and more Americans are realizing the need to go on a digital detox. In research by The Harris Poll, 67 percent of U.S. adults said they attempt to unplug at some point during the year, with at least half of that group stating they do it to spend more quality time with their families. The study also revealed that six in 10 adults wish their family members would unplug more often.
The evidence is clear that occasionally unplugging from technology can help restore a sense of closeness within the family. The American Academy of Pediatrics even recommends families designate “media-free times together.” But once everyone in the household shuts down their smartphones, laptops, tablets, video games, etc., how can they find common ground for resurrecting those precious family bonds? Where can they go to relate to each other in an atmosphere free of most technological distractions? And is it a place the whole family can enjoy?
Nestled along the Georgia coast, Jekyll Island is proving to be a getaway most-conducive for unplugging from the outside world and restoring that family equilibrium. The island’s pristine natural setting is the perfect backdrop for exploration and recreation, making it an ideal retreat for families seeking to disconnect from cyberspace and reconnect on a personal level.
“Jekyll Island is the answer for families seeking to discover the outdoors while rediscovering themselves,” says Jones Hooks, Executive Director of the Jekyll Island Authority. “They can escape here to unplug from their digital existence and reconnect with each other within an expansive, natural setting. While exploring these inspiring surroundings and getting into some down-to-earth fun, they can also get back in touch with each other.”
While unplugging at home might suggest boredom and isolation, on Jekyll it is anything but – the place has captured imaginations and entertained vacationing families for generations. There is plenty here to occupy a variety of family interests, from swimming, boating and getting back to nature to fine dining, shopping and participating in the myriad special events and activities the island hosts throughout the year, including the Turtle Crawl races in mid-May and a range of fun and educational summer camps for youths.
With development on Jekyll Island intentionally limited, most of the island is preserved in its natural state, with wildlife peacefully coexisting alongside the human element. “The result is a well-balanced environment full of natural wonders just begging to be discovered, explored and celebrated,” Hooks notes. “We’re always encouraging our guests to find their inner explorer and experience new adventures here.”
Five distinct, wide-open beaches are spaced along 10 miles of unspoiled shoreline, sprawling marshes teem with life, and majestic live oaks dominate more than 1,000 acres of ancient maritime forest. More than 20 miles of bike trails meander through the island’s distinctive habitats and past other points of interest, including several historical attractions. From Native American artifacts to colonial ruins and exquisite cottages depicting America’s Gilded Age, every path leads to new discoveries.
Popular among nature-loving explorers are the guided nature walks and wildlife- and bird-watching excursions with Jekyll’s very own park ranger and marine biologists. Visitors can also go on local dolphin tours or drop in on the world-renowned Georgia Sea Turtle Center, where you can get up close to recuperating sea turtle patients and participate in hands-on activities. For further outdoor recreation and adventure, options include kayak and paddleboard rentals; fishing excursions; horseback riding; tennis, golf and miniature golf; playgrounds; and a large, family friendly water park.
Jekyll’s back-to-nature motif is well-suited for families looking to step away from the stress of busy schedules and disconnect from technology awhile. Amid the current health and wellness trend of unplugging for mental and emotional well-being and to be more mindful of one’s moment-to-moment experiences, Jekyll Island’s tranquil, scenic environment and easily accessible activities are ideal for families hoping to slow down the pace a bit and get to know each other again.
A healthy range of on-site lodging options is available, for satisfying various guest preferences and family needs. For more information about family vacations on Jekyll Island, visit www.jekyllisland.com.